JOHOR BARU: Johor plans to position and develop the state as the leading Islamic educational hub in the region by attracting students from all over the world.
Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin said Johor had the right ecosystem as its Islamic education had been around for more than 100 years.
He said that Johor’s visionary leaders and educators had pioneered the Islamic education in the country making it more systematic and progressive at the time when other states did not see the requirements.
“We have come the long way when it comes to the modern Islamic education system in the region and now is the time to reaffirm and bring it to the next level,” said Mohamed Khaled.
He said this when met at the opening of Sekolah Agama Al-Imtiyaz Seri Kota Puteri, Masai and the launch of free meals for Johor Islamic religious school for pupils from poor families.
Mohamed Khaled said with the strong foundation of the modern Islamic education system already in place, Johor could now look at ways to further strengthen it.
“The old ways of teaching Islam to our pupils are no longer relevant and we have to keep up with times by implementing new technology as well as fine-tuning the curriculum,” he added.
On that note, Mohamed Khaled said, Johor wanted to produce pupils who were not only well-versed in Islamic knowledge and teaching but also a forward-looking Muslim.
He said the religious schools must be able to produce more Muslim professionals such as doctors, engineers, lawyers, researchers and scientists and not only ustaz or ustazah (religious teachers).
Mohamed Khaled said it is currently talking with several Islamic-based educational institutions from Turkey and Australia interested to set up Islamic international schools in the state.
“Many Muslim families including foreigners are looking at the Islamic international schools to send their children as they offered both Islamic and secular education systems,” he said.
Separately Mohamed Khaled said about 15,000 Islamic religious school pupils from poor families with the monthly household income below RM1,500 would benefit from the free meal scheme.